Margaret and Claudia have experienced abusive childhoods because the former was raised in a foster home after a history of sexual abuse while the latter, despite being raised in an intact family, suffered the effects of an abusive and alcoholic father. This Lesbian couple claims to have overcome the subsequent traumas from the abuse that they had experienced. Despite this assertion, they reveled behavior that depicted different complications related to their past. An attempt to deny is evident from the understanding that Margaret is already involved in the consumption of alcohol and this is traceable from the socialization process of her foster family. It is possible to argue that the discipline process in the family failed to provide Margaret with a better understanding of the dangers of alcohol. In addition, she uses alcohol as a defense mechanism to enable her escape trauma that accompanies the effects of her abusive childhood. Claudia is relatively calms and does not seem to project any aggressive behavior.
From the sessions, it is important to understand that the couple desires to adopt two children and they must demonstrate their ability to socialize the children effectively. The counseling session is therefore organized to facilitate a process through which Margaret and Claudia will understand the history of the siblings in terms of their family and the development of the best possible strategy to minimize the possibility that the children will suffer from any other form of a psychological distress while living with the lesbian couple. From the initial assessment, Margaret and Claudia seem to be the best family to manage and socialize children from abusive and neglected backgrounds. This is because they have first-hand experience on the dangers of such a lifestyle in the development of a child. In addition, through minimal help Margaret and Claudia can prove the best family setup through the development of an environment that encourages positive growth.
The second session of counseling however reveals additional behavioral and personality traits that signify that both Margaret and Claudia are yet to overcome trauma and psychological distress resulting from their abusive childhood experiences. Margaret not only emerges as an alcoholic but she is also abusive and intolerant to Claudia. This explains why during the second counseling session that included the children; she lashes out at Claudia and calls her ideas stupid. In addition, she allows the children to mimic and call Margaret stupid. From this perspective it is possible top argue that Claudia is in an abusive relationship and that Margaret is yet to overcome her abusive past. It is also possible to argue that the upbringing of Margaret in a foster family was a contributing factor to her inability to tolerate the views of other members of the society. She believes that she has the right and the only way children to handle any form of complication that arises can use that. Claudia is perceived as an inferior individual whose decisions and thought are relatively stupid. The intolerance of Margaret towards Claudia is also revealed in her inability to consider the best environment that can be used in developing solutions to dispute. She publically abuses and reacts to Margaret with little care on the possible effects of her surrounding or her abuse to Claudia. Claudia is therefore in an abusive relationship.
Despite being raised in an intact family, Claudia lived with an alcoholic and an abusive father. Her reactions to Margaret’s abusive and arrogant language seem to be an indication of the possible effects of her abusive childhood in her relationship. It is possible to liken her behavior towards Margaret with her behavior towards any other alcoholic and abusive person. She suffers from a problem of personality disorder characterized by low self-esteem. When Margaret abuses her and shouts at her, Claudia shuts down to allow Margaret to explain her feelings and thoughts. This is an indication that Claudia does not believe that she has the right thoughts. In addition, she does not have the courage to speak her thoughts for fear of abuse and intolerance. She believes that she is inferior to her spouse and that she does not have any solutions to offer when addressing the situation in context.
The realization that Claudia cannot defend her thoughts or her right to be heard makes Margaret take advantage of the situation to ensure that she makes all the important decisions in the relationship. . The relationship between Margaret and Claudia is therefore largely authoritarian with the alcoholic spouse being more in command compared to the non- alcoholic and relatively cam spouse. This is an indication that when provided with an opportunity of raising the children, Margaret will be the determining factor on how the children should be socialized. Claudia will be compelled into acting in the ways proposed by Margaret. In addition, it will also provide the children with a platform of abusing Claudia considering that Margaret does not seem to perceive their mimicry and abusive activities as wrong in any way.
The treatment plan for this family and the children can be realized through two family therapy models. These include experiential family therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. Claudia, Margaret, and the children have a problem arising from abusive and neglected childhoods. This means that the only way by which these problems can be solved is by understanding the problems in their childhoods and the developments of effective solutions for these problems. When approached from the experiential family therapy perspective, it will be possible to argue that the main cause of family problems, emotional suppression, and constant denial of impulses (Cabouli, 2007). In addition, the priority of this approach to the treatment of individuals emanates from the understanding that the treatment of individual members is of more importance than bridging the family gap (Cabouli, 2007). Therapy sessions, when using this approach, will be characterized by an attempt to build higher levels of emotional and intimate relationships among the family members. This is because experiential family therapy does not always bases its suppositions on the quality of individual family members and their weaknesses, but on the development of techniques that can be used in the examination of how family interactions may generate complication in terms of the relationship between individual members of the family (Cabouli, 2007). In the case of Claudia and Margaret, experiential family therapy will be essential in providing Margaret with the best possible approach that she can use in the development of an effective communication methodology that will respect the thoughts and feelings of Claudia. In addition, it will also be used to encourage the children to respect their parent by developing better interpersonal relationships and communication skills (Cabouli, 2007).
Experiential family therapy operates on an understanding that the existing problems among individual members of the family originate from distant interpersonal familial relationships. It also operates on the understanding that family secrets and the demands of families may make some of the members feel relatively compromised hence challenging their ability to fully express themselves and communicate their challenges (Cabouli, 2007). The abusive childhood of Claudia contributes to her silence wherever Margaret abuses her. This arises from her abusive and alcoholic father who made her feel relatively inferior hence the development of her low levels of self-esteem. To solve this challenge it will be important for the counselor to engage the family in an emotional therapy sessions to help family members in revealing their unexpressed feelings as the only way through which they can ensure that they arrive at high levels of interpersonal intimacy with other members of the family (Cabouli, 2007).
Upon the understanding and the realization of the expectations of the experiential family therapy approach, it will be important for the therapist to introduce Margaret, Claudia and the children to the Solution Focused Therapy. This is a goal-oriented approach to the psychological problems that members of a family face. It is often regarded as an individual initiative towards the development of personal solutions to personal problems (Macdonald, 2011). The family of Margaret and Claudia face problems arising from abusive childhoods. The children also face psychological challenges that emanate from neglect in their childhood. The Solution Focused Therapy acknowledges distress but focuses on the solutions rather than the problem. Through this approach clients from their own solutions throihj the assistance of a therapist who provides a series of questions that are relevant to the problems facing the client.
The questions that enable this process include the miracle question. This is a question that focuses on a world where the problems facing the clients are no longer available and asks the client to describe the feeling, the differences noticed, whether they have ever had such an experience and the possibility of living the miracle (Macdonald, 2011). The miracle questions therefore help the client in the creation of a world without the problem and the possibility of eliminating the problems in the real world (Macdonald, 2011). In the case of Claudia, Margaret and the children, the miracle question can focus on their childhoods and the type of feeling that they would have in situations where the problem that they face should be eliminates. This is important in the creation of a world without problems and improves of the ability of an individual to perceive himself as problem free.
It is also possible to use the Solution Focused Therapy in asking exception questions. These are questions that are used to track progress of the client. The Solution Focused Therapy is an individual based approach. Through this process, the therapist will be able to ask the clients matters related to any changes since their first appointment (Macdonald, 2011). In addition, it can also be used to help the individual to reflect on a time in their past when they experienced a similar problem. The relationship between the techniques used in handling the problem in the past and in the present will be important for the client to understand and appreciate progress in developing lasting solution s to their problems. Personal initiatives such as elements and thoughts that help calm the individual down also play a role in promoting the efficiency of Solution Focused Therapy (Macdonald, 2011).
Cabouli, L. (2007). Strategic experiential family therapy. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse.
Macdonald, A. J. (2011). Solution-focused therapy: Theory, research & practice. Los Angeles,